Is the Pro Bowl in danger of going away?

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Several years ago, the NFL considered abandoning its all-star game because the all-stars were largely giving half-assed efforts. Now, the threat to the ongoing existence of the game comes from the fact that the rosters consist not of all-stars but a collection of alternates who didn’t qualify for the game but who became critical to the effort as nearly half of the players bailed, either because they’ll be playing in the Super Bowl, because they’re injured, because they’re “injured,” or because they simply don’t want to go.

It’s prompting speculation among coaches that the game is on “life support,” and that down the road it will go away.

The NFL has rattled the sword from time to time about killing the game, but people still watch it. Which makes it difficult to justify getting rid of it.

If/when it essentially becomes a showcase for the future stars and veteran who never made it, maybe people won’t be watching. And if/when a player tears an ACL or pops an Achilles tendon while playing in a meaningless game, more and more players will refuse to play.

145 responses to “Is the Pro Bowl in danger of going away?

  1. I think a more apt headline would be “Is The Pro Bowl Finally Close to Just Going Away?”

  2. The players won’t go to it. Those that do won’t tackle or hit. The fans don’t give a crap. Why are we doing this again?

  3. Yeah time to go, this year more than ever shows the concept is no longer even remotely working.

  4. I hope so it’s become a joke. Teddy bridgewater in the pro bowl??

    Ratings will keep getting lower

  5. Even the replacement players, and the replacement of the replacement players, are still good players. But I haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in 20 years. Nothing will save that show, and having clowns like Michael Irving and Jerry Rice pick teams is a knife in the chest.

  6. Hope so. It’s not watchable when they’re clearly playing not to get hurt. It’s a joke and long overdue being put out to pasture.

  7. Here’s how you save the Pro Bowl:
    1) Play it half way between the SB and the draft
    2) Play it in the city that will be hosting the Super Bowl the next year (dry run)
    3) Have celebrity coaches in the 1st 3 quarters (psuedo Madden style)
    4) Make it more financially worthwhile – Winners get a 5% bonus or $35k (whichever is greater), Losers get a 3 % bonus or $20k (whichever is greater)

  8. I would rather see a skills competition than a full out game with back ups or half hearted participants. I used to love the quarterback challenge, and other events that showcases talent without playing a game

  9. At least the pro bowl was once a showcase of real performers – this modern version is a complete joke. The Rapist Winston being in it proves that this is not a pro bowl – it is a toilet bowl.

  10. Maybe an all rookie team vs vets team two hand touch game after a skills competition.

    And probably the fastest man in the nfl race, strongest man competition, longest pass and best hands.

  11. I haven’t watched it in years. I got tired of holding my breath for three hours hoping nobody got hurt. Now they’ve really yucked it up with ex-players as coaches, etc. It’s a complete joke.

  12. They just need to stop screwing it up. The NFL is the only sports league in the world that structures its “all star” game in such a way that its two best team literally can’t participate. That’s dumb.

    Move it back to the original date, after the Super Bowl. That way, the guys in the Super Bowl can play, and players who were injured will have had a month to heal. Purposely damaging a product, and then complaining that it’s damaged, makes no sense.

    Also, ditch the idea of having it in the same town as the Super Bowl. If you really want to see everyone back out, put the Pro Bowl in Minnesota in the middle of winter and see what happens. Just keep it in Hawaii and move it back to its old date.

  13. Skills competition divisional challenge… Timing, passing, one on one put drills, Oklahoma drill etc etc

    Example…AFC WEST vs NFC SOUTH

    Have each division test each other for a winner take all in a 10M payoff

  14. Move it back to after the Superbowl, so you can get the Superbowl players in it again. Its like a victory lap for them, and viewers want to get one last look at football after the season. Stop trying to make it meaningful, its just a fun exhibition game.

  15. Somehow the NFL made a bad situation worse by incorporating Michael Irvin and Cris Carter into the equation. I’d at least watch AFC vs NFC if I happened to catch it on. I actively avoid this new format. Its awful.

  16. I don’t watch it anymore. I used to look forward to the game until the NFL decided it needed to be changed. When the casual “fan” is catered to and changes made for them, who is going to watch it when the casual fan decides they like European soccer and figure skating better? NASCAR went the same route, and the NFL could do themselves a favor by learning from that failed experiment. The lesson NASCAR is learning is it is bad for business when greed makes you thumb your nose at the loyal fan base, believing they will always watch no matter how bad a product you put forth.

  17. It’s become a REAL joke. Its always been a joke, but as a true sports/football fan i always enjoyed watching the game. It was a relaxed, jovial football game until the 4th qtr when money was the goal. Now, it is a ways to a means for additional money for better players. Voted in, cha-ching… and come up with a reason to not play. It seems the entire starting lineups have opted out and new players named (and best be sure they get their bonus money too) to start in the game. I have absolutely ZERO interest in watching this game. It’s sad really cause i really used to be one of the few to watch it.

  18. I wish it would, but it won’t. For some reason, it gets huge TV ratings. Don’t know who watches these games, but apparently someone does. To the NFL, that’s what it’s all about. They should just name the team, pay the bonuses, and be done with it.

  19. When it is at a point that you have to add Winston and Bridgewater then I would say, YES!

    Not Brady or Rodgers or Big Ben or Palmer or Brees or Ryan or even Rivers but Winston and Bridgewater….

    That is some “jump the shark” ; through things at the wall and see what sticks; take what we can get; scrape the barrel type move right there….

    With all the other substitutions made we might as well just watch the Bucs play the Browns in a “dumpster bowl”.

  20. Does anyone look forward to this any more? Get rid of it, and replace it with some skill level contests.

  21. Given how quickly its descended into a rookie vs 2nd year all-star game, I’ll vote yes, get rid of the game.

    There are exactly ZERO fans who care if the NFC wins.

    There are precisely ZERO fans who care if the AFC wins.

    Play a brutally physical game, with ZERO at stake? And you expect the players to take the game seriously?

    If Pro-Bowl appearances are a factor, why aren’t more general managers fired every year. I’d say at least 17 teams don’t have any pro-bowl players. Those teams should be forced to fire those GMs, and those GM’s should be forced to physically walk during the parade. If only to humiliate them, pubic-ally .

  22. The Pro Bowl is a great look into the future of the NFL, when everything possible has been done to encourage more offense, rules prioritize safety over competition, and the best athletes are off doing something else because they think the risks of the game aren’t worth the rewards.

  23. The Pro Bowl died long ago. It is the TV money that forces them to keep marching its corpse out there.

    Do you think that this year, finally, when we have players playing that are average NFL players at best, people will quit feeding the beast by watching the thing?

  24. Please do away with this entirely unnecessary and irrelevant exhibition. The more we know about long term injury impact to the players, the more ludicrous this game becomes.

  25. Personally I’d be more inclined to watch if they did a skills challenge. Something like they used to do with the QB’s back in the day and maybe Linemen having a bench press competition for example.

  26. I haven’t watched the All Star Game in at least 20 years. Its not a game. Football is not suited for an All Star Game. You need time to get a team to play together and nobody wants to risk an injury. The NBA is just as bad. Its all ally oops and NO defense. I haven’t watched the NBA All Star Game in probably 15 years either. Baseball is the only game that is actually suited for an All Star Game. in baseball you actually get the best players doing exactly what they do during the regular season. I wish the NFL would drop the game. Just vote the players in who made it, send them a plaque or trophy and be done with it. The NBA needs to find a way to make the game mean something so the players would actually play defense. Only then will it be worth watching.

  27. Just “name” a Pro Bowl team and skip the game. Just do it like college sports, for example, that name an “AP All-American Team” without an actual game. That will sufficiently pay tribute to the players without subjecting fans to what is basically a flag football game minus the very players it is supposed to honor. Moving it to the week before the Super Bowl and changing it from AFC vs. NFC to a glorified “picking teams” like in gym class has made it even more of a joke. Haven’t watched it in years. Won’t miss it if it goes away altogether.

  28. They should replace the pro bowl broadcast with rebroadcasts of the old super bowls. This year SB I, next year SB II, etc. It would be a lot more interesting if they did it right. Have a few of today’s stars interview the old players. I’m sure there are other things they could do.

  29. They should just get rid of it. I’be enjoyed watching the pro bowl most years but this is getting ridiculous. At this pace, Geno Smith probably will make the pro bowl as an alternate of an alternate like he implied he would.

    I won’t be watching this year’s game.

  30. I see two things essential to fixing this: 1) Move the Pro Bowl back to the Sunday after the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl champs used to be able to treat it like a vacation for their family, they get to spend a week in Hawaii after winning the Super Bowl, how cool would that be?
    As for the other idea: 2) start making Pro Bowl related bonuses based on whether or not they actually play in the game, not just get picked for it. In fact, here’s an even better idea: when a replacement player gets added to the Pro Bowl, that player gets the bonus that would’ve gone to the player he’s replacing.

  31. Uh, as I’m the first comment on a post that’s been up for a bit, pretty much shows you how little anyone cares about the pro bowl. I watched the playoffs with teams I didn’t care about but have never seen a pro bowl game in my life.

  32. The pro Bowl is a joke, have the flag game after the big boys play in the Super Bowl. Its an excuse to go to Hawaii for a great vacation. Bill

  33. The NFL and it’s billions of dollars can make it worth their while to not miss the Pro Bowl. $50,000 or so for the winners or $25,000 or so for the losers is pocket change to most of these guys. Plus, the guy who plays the best gets a car he’ll never drive.

  34. It should have gone away 20 years ago. No one cares about the game, including the players who get picked because everyone else backed out.

    “You got voted into the Pro Bowl! Heres your plaque to hang on the wall of your bathroom, and your check for $50k, congrats!”

    The End

  35. The Game has long outlived its uselessness,especially after a 16 game season.The Senior Bowl at least serves a purpose,the Pro Bowl? Nope!

  36. Sure hope so. I won’t be watching. If l was an advertiser l would skip this game because it’s totally worthless. Save your money and watch the Super Bowl which means something.

  37. Let’s not forget the new format is awful. Bring back AFC vs. NFC with real coaches. This business of a “draft” with retired players as “teams” is a joke. The NFL is killing the game themselves.

  38. The Pro Bowl in Miami the week before the Saints v Colts was the perfect model. It was two weeks of celebrating the NFL in South Florida. The Pro Bowl being in the same city as the Super Bowl the week before allows the NFL and the fans to applaud the players and their teams for the season. Then you cap it off with the final memory of that season being the winning team holding up the Lombardi.

    If you lived in South Florida at the time you know it was non stop festivities every day and night leading up to the Super Bowl, it was so much fun. It captures an entire area. The NFL dominated the market for two weeks. And that was Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and slightly into the Keys for a few things.

  39. Replace it with the old school QB challenge and expand it to other positions. Your bonus is based on where you place. I haven’t watched the Pro Bowl in probably 5 years or more.

    Either that, or make it flag with streamlined full contact O and D lines like say 3 person line and a TE vs 2 D-lineman.

  40. If you need to do something…do it like baseball basketball and hockey: have a semi-competitive skills test like American ninja warriors or something. People would still spend an afternoon watching NFL receivers compete in a one-handed catch competition.

  41. Two words: Robert Edwards.

    Let it die. Hell pull the plug. No one cares and it is far more infuriating to a fan base to see cornerstones of their team put at risk over a meaningless exhibition.

  42. I agree. I believe it will essentially go way like the annual College All Stars game against the NFL went. Its sad to say but no one wants to play in it anymore and withdraw after their selection.

  43. Ditch the Pro Bowl, unless you make it aHarlem Globetrotters type game, winning 100-98 or something.


    SB should be a week after the CCGs…

  44. Robert Edwards, I think.

    Played for the patriots, RB.

    Tore his knee up in a sandbox.

    Promising career over before it started.

    The Pro Bowl should be banished.

  45. There is one primary thing to blame: That clown Goodell’s asinine decision to change the Pro Bowl from after the Super Bowl to BEFORE the Super Bowl.

    It automatically eliminates all players from the two Super Bowl teams, and probably the ones from the conference championship games as well – you think Carson Palmer or Tom Brady wants to suit right back up after an emotionally and physically taxing loss? Of course not.
    However, you ask him to suit up again for the Pro Bowl THREE weeks after the NFCCG (like it used to be), and then he probably would want to go.

  46. The Pro-bowl sucks … it is a circus with those two fugitives from the HOF choosing up sides. Get rid of it!!!! its just another money grab and as bad as the NFL is now the Pro Bowl is worse!

  47. Every year Florio brings up the same tired story

    The Pro Bowl while it may be without some of the big name starts, and while it seems stupid to me that it is held BEFORE the Super Bowl and not AFTER, the fact remains the same

    Ratings are high, meaning there is NO CHANCE the NFL nor the network(s) are going to let it die.

    Plain simple fact, no matter how Florio wants to spin it each and every year!

  48. Just name the pro bowlers for the honors, get rid of the game.

    When teddy two gloves is a “pro bowler” you know there is a problem. Not insulting teddy or the vikes. Just saying he is not pro bowl caliber player yet.

  49. It is not a proper pro bowl if the players playing are not the ones people voted for. It’s not the best players and it’s actually less interesting then watching a pre season game. I really think a skills competition would be a good replacement for the game. Maybe a town hall session where players and coaches talk about issues surrounding the NFL like top five controversial calls of the year, deflate gate , suspensions that shouldn’t have happened or whatever and players weigh in. Hell have them play hacky sacky or chess; anything but the pro bowl game.

  50. Might as well put it out of its misery. I always liked the Pro Bowl, but King Goodell and the NFL have ruined it. Play it the week before the Super Bowl. Great idea, now we miss out on a bunch of players from both SB teams. Move it out of Hawaii every other year. Yeah, the players and their families hate going to Hawaii every year. And instead of NFC vs AFC, lets have some stupid ‘draft’ where a couple of ex players pick teams. And then lets make them wear the worst uniforms ever. The Pro Bowl used to be a fun way to end the season after all the drama of SB week. Now, it’s like some weird event out of a Hunger Games movie. Awful.

  51. Please make the Pro Bowl go away. It sucks. It is meaningless. Making s list of names of players who were ‘Pro Bowlers’ would mean more.

  52. I’m a fan of all major sports, however, All-Star and Pro Bowl games have evolved over the years and some sports never adapted. Free agency, money, and player arrogance has changed the landscape for MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.

    Strongly dislike the fact that MLB has forced the game into home field advantage and the Pro Bowl was getting pretty pathetic with gamesmanship. Not that NBA scores of late are pretty interesting either.

    Sadly, I don’t think the Pro Bowl can be repaired into an enjoyable product and sustain the ratings (advertising dollars) the NFL would like.

    I say pay them additional money so young players with limited contracts (or undrafted/break out players) compete harder.

    Add a serious skills weekend competition like the NHL, and NBA. Why not have a mic’d up NFL combine? Let players switch positions to showcase talent or allow them to draw up plays they couldn’t regularly use in an NFL week game etc.

    If the NFL, and players took the Pro Bowl more seriously, maybe its fans would too.

  53. I really think that the NFL and NFLPA should join together and make this an event that celebrates the originally selected players by giving them a trip to Hawaii and making it more of a fan driven event. The game should be the Senior Bowl – or something similar – and the whole event should be held once again after the Superbowl. Only seniors or juniors that have already graduated should be invited to play, as this will be a reward for completing your education. They get to mingle with the best of the NFL whilst having the national spotlight on them, allowing them to demonstrate what they can bring to teams.

  54. Just make it a Skills Competition.
    It was so cool to see punter Brian Moorman running 40-yard dash against the fastest guys in the league (and beating some of them)

    40- yard dash
    Obstacle course
    Precision passing

    Make some prizes so players will give the effort (without major injury risks)

  55. Please, if there is a God above, make it stop. Do a superstars competition weekend or something. The pro bowl is a joke. You want to talk about player safety, then trot out this pathetic dog and pony show each year. Some of these guys haven’t even practiced for nearly a month.

  56. That week should be between the losers of the conference playoff game. The problem now is that the teams have no chemistry. Taking the Super Bowl players out of the game decreases interest. The drafting of the teams utterly kills chemistry. I’d rather see teams with players that have chemistry with teammates. Incentive could be non-salary cap bonuses from the NFL account in proportion to the team’s current salary proportion. They could also get a higher draft pick over the loser. The loser could be given a smaller bonus so they aren’t playing for free. I think more people would watch and gamble. The venue could be a neutral site like London.

  57. Teddy Bridgewater will be playing in it. That tells us all we need to know about how far this game has fallen. Time to pull the plug.

  58. Just announce an all-pro award, for the pro-bowl woefully outdated:
    1) In the early merger years there was more interest in how the best from each conference would stack up, but lots of alternates now means even that don’t happen, and they don’t play lights-out.
    2) “Going to Hawaii” was a rare treat even for a top pro-footballer. But that’s little draw now for multi-millionaires concerned with protecting their money-making bodies.
    3) Exhibition-games were rare chances for any faithful to locally see a game and their stars, but affordable mass-transit by air, and giant on-demand HDTV games, and a host of competing forms of entertainment, have vastly outmoded the whole concept.
    4) Bad time of year: too close to in-season to tweak off-season interest.

  59. Awards show. Prime time. Musical guests. Superlative awards. Players get some limelight without their helmets on. Sponsors eat it up.

    That and bring back the dang skills competition.

  60. Terrible event now. Name the top players to the All-Pro team and be done. If you want a companion event, have a rookie all star game, Thursday night before the Super Bowl at the site of.

  61. When you start getting into the fifth alternate at a position it is getting closer to “Joes vs Pros” than it is the Pro Bowl.

  62. Make the worst NFL team play the best college team

    I’d tune in for sure. And teams like the Colts might also stop fixing games to “suck for Luck” in the future

  63. Maybe it needs to go away. It’s only relevancy is to fill a football void between the end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl and it is not hype for that. It’s a game not even played with the all of the All Stars. 14 won’t be there this year because they have one more bigger game to play. So the “second” tier steps in. Subtract the few that refuse to play or are recovering from injury and you have the street pick-up game it has become. That did add a measure of intrigue but it does not take away it is a game where hits are not hits, rules definitely appear different, and player effort is not the same as the weekly grind to a playoff berth. All it needs is cars parked along the sides and a play like go to the Chevy and turn left. I’ll hit you. And maybe even some of that is there.

  64. Danger is a funny word there, isn’t it? You could have chose “predictably” or “mercifully,” or “hopefully.”

  65. At this point they should just turn it into a skills competition. Let the players get voted on for the Pro Bowl so that incentives can continue to be paid, but turn it into a broad skills competition a la the NBA and NHL All Star games.

    The game itself is unwatchable. With all of the injuries suffered and the beating they take during the season, I can understand why there is no effort given. Make it fun and entertaining to watch. I havent watched a Pro Bowl in 5 years, and have no intention of doing so until they change the format.

  66. …………how about they send some FANS to Hawaii with their favorite player. Make it a lottery…..EVER team sends 10 fans w/ their families to Hawaii and they get to hang out with their players. I myself am required to go to corporate functions & represent my company & mingle with our clients. Why can’t the NFL do the same thing…’s called ‘GIVING BACK’ to your fans that support the game…….Betcha a lot more people would be interested then.

  67. purpleandgoldforever says:
    Jan 27, 2016 12:37 AM
    Every year Florio brings up the same tired story

    StorIES. Add this one to the long list including franchise tag, fumble out of the end zone, tampering with upcoming free agents, division winners not deserving home playoff games, etc.

    But just like the NFL, people keep coming back because they love the sport, not necessarily because it’s a quality product.

  68. The game is a waste of time. When I was young and we were lucky to see one game a week on broadcast tv, it was great to be able to see players you did not get to see during the season. With almost a daily dose of games available to watch now, who wants to watch players playing basically flag football.

  69. Bring back the skills competition. I used to watch that. Don’t think I have watched the entire pro bowl more than a couple of times in the last 30 years. I am not a casual fan either, I watch the draft, the combine, preseason,as many regular season games as I can and the entire post season. The pro bowl sucks. Always has always will.

  70. Fixing the Pro bowl:

    1) Put it back after the superbowl so superbowl players play in it.

    2) Split rosters by NFC/AFC. Not ideal, but what we’re used to.

    3) Same 53 man game day rosters. HOWEVER, change the voting. Players and Coaches fill the rosters with their votes, but FANS CHOOSE THE STARTERS; and those starters start and play the entire game, just like a regular NFL game.

    4) They play for a 30 million dollar pot. IT ONLY GOES TO THE GAME WINNER and then is split up by however the NFL and NFLPA wants to split it up. The other side is paid normal NFL Pro Bowl rates and bonuses.

  71. The Pro Bowl is Doomed, and here is why.
    The Pro Bowl used to be appreciated by the players. It was a different time, with different morals and standards, and Lord knows less money. But a trip to Hawaii was a huge honor, before players were so greedy and self absorbed. Today players look at the game as Charity, the risk isn’t worth the reward.
    I also don’t believe anybody has come up with an answer to why it was moved from after the Super Bowl?
    Many of the best players won’t play so what is the point?
    A Rookie All Star NFL Game makes more sense.
    It protects the older, more susceptible players from injury, and the Rookies would at least appreciate the honor.
    Even moving the Pro Bowl to Mid Season like MLB with All teams getting an extra BY week off makes more sense too.

  72. When it was played after the Super Bowl, there was some revenge factor involved for the losing Conference, call it pride. But even tho the pace started slower, by the 2nd or 3rd series the competitive nature of the players used to come out and there were actually some pretty good games!
    A surprising number won by the losing Super Bowl Conference.
    Plus the sideline antics of players like Harry Carson
    was fun to watch!
    I still miss the old days of the NFL Quarterback challenge and NFL Arm Wrestling matches.

  73. I watch to Lol at all the players standing around. Sometimes a player breaks out and thinks he did so well.

  74. The ratings are up? Just try and tell that to the sponsors……. oh they do! I didn’t even remember the game was on and I am a lifelong (55+) NFL fan. What with these ex-jocks picking the teams?

  75. I haven’t watched a complete Pro-bowl in years.
    NFL should adust the rules and make each qtr.; 10 minutes.
    Also have a running clock the last 2 minutes of each qtr.
    This is a violent collision sport, and no one wants to see ANY player injured.
    Adjust the rules or simply make it a meet and greet ceremony for players and there families.

  76. I started watching it then turned it off, seeing players from my team on both sides ruined it for me.
    it was less exciting than watching a spring practice.
    change it back to AFC vs NFC or just forget it.
    2 minute warning after every quarter and all.

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